The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) on Friday announced that it will promote tsunami awareness and education for the coastal population and enhance community resilience over the next decade.
"This education and outreach programme promotes hazard understanding and awareness, and offers tools and information resources to guide preparedness and response. This will be met by making the development of science and technology at scientific organisations go hand in hand with the community preparedness and response," said INCOIS Director Dr T. Srinivasa Kumar said on World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5.
"We cannot control the occurrence of an earthquake even with state of art technologies. However, we can definitely mitigate the possible disaster by taking adequate measures by improving community awareness and preparedness, like people must be aware how to respond to them, either natural warnings (signs) or official," he added.
As part of the 6th World Tsunami Awareness Day, INCOIS conducted a tsunami mock drill in coordination with the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) and the Odisha State Emergency Operation Centre wherein INCOIS issued bulletins to Odisha stakeholders for evaluating their SOPs and communication media.
A total of 69 coastal communities/wards actively participated and evacuated during the mock drill to test the tsunami ready indicators.
The INCOIS Director said though tsunami science has been going through several important developments, it is equally important to strengthen the downstream part, which they were taking as a challenge.
He said that the recent recognition of two villages of Odisha (Venkatraipur and Noliasahi) as "tsunami-ready" is just the beginning.
The INCOIS is putting more efforts to make all vulnerable communities as tsunami resilient communities through the tsunami ready programme in collaboration with the state disaster management authorities, he added.
The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 claimed around 10,000 lives in India and around 2,30,000 in surrounding countries. India was the first one to step forward to take the initiative to establish Tsunami Early Warning Centre at INCOIS, the first state of the art warning centre in the Indian Ocean countries.
The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) not only acts as national warning centre, but also as a "tsunami service provider" responsible to provide services to all Indian Ocean member states under the framework of UNESCO's the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWMS).
"Though the tsunami services have been improving through several initiatives, we are still facing challenges in limited observation networks, limited knowledge on tsunami risk, and inadequate community response. The recent tsunamis of Indonesia in 2018 brought us another challenge of tsunamis that are triggered by other than earthquakes such as submarine landslides and volcanic eruptions which can wash away the near-source regions within a few minutes," Srinivasa Kumar said.